The ministry of Gospel Way Church of God In Christ began as a vision given to Deacon Booker T. Howard while he served as a faithful worker at First Church of God In Christ in Staunton, VA under Elder (Bishop) Melvin Clark.
One night the Lord spoke to Deacon Howard these words “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”, after much prayer Deacon Howard went to his pastor and church mother and consulted with them about the vision he had.
Mother Pearson, a God-fearing and anointed woman told him, “you prepare yourself for the work God has called you to do. God has already provided you with everything that you need for your ministry to start a church. You have the singers, piano players and YOU the minister. You go and God will bless your ministry”.
Elder Clark held Bible classes and gave instructions to his deacons and ministers preparing them for the ministry of Pastoral ships. It was during one of those sessions that Deacon Howard preached his trial sermon.
In 1958 Elder Clark following the leading of the Lord and being pleased with Deacon Howard's knowledge of the Bible and his heart for winning souls for Christ licensed him as Minister in the church. In the fall of 1959, upon the recommendation of Elder Clark, Bishop David C. Love traveled for Norfolk, Va. to Staunton, Va. to ordain Minister Howard as an Elder in the First Jurisdiction of the Churches of God In Christ. Bishop Love prophetically spoke and told Elder Howard “you are well qualified to work for the saving of souls, go and work in the vineyard”, blessing him to begin building his church ministry.
In 1960, the Lord led Elder and Sis. Clara Howard (his wife) to Fairfield, Va to the home of Deacon and Mother Silas Sanderson, friends and members of Rising Zion Baptist Church in Timber Ridge, Va. where he shared with them his vision for the ministry. Immediately Deacon Sanderson called his family and friends to his come to pray for Gods’ blessings on the ministry. That night God blessed in a mighty and miraculous way, an Acts 2:4 experience was occurring many were saved and filled with the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Every Thursday evenings they continued to meet in the home of Deacon Sanderson with people coming from all around the surrounding areas.
Elder Howard was then led by the Lord to conduct meetings in many homes in Buena Vista, Va. as the following of his ministry continued to grow. He was often accompanied by Deacon Sanderson and his good friend Elder Filmore Bell, a member of Friendship Church of God In Christ in Staunton, Va. As the fellowship grew God showed Elder Howard that it was now time to look for a building to hold the services in. Elder Howard and Deacon Sanderson traveled to Lexington, Va.
after hearing of a building with space to rent.
After meeting with the owner Mr. Merchant and sharing his vision for ministry, an agreement was reached for the ministry to rent the top floor of the building. The main floor housed a funeral home and the basement was dance hall. The ministry now had a permanent location. Renovation work began on the top floor to make it suitable to conduct church services, furniture and a piano was purchased. The Church was now established and officially named the Gospel Way Church of God In Christ. Mother Howard was the Missionary and the choir director. The Howard children were the musicians and the choir.
Following a successful street revival, the membership grew enough to support building a church. Elder Howard and Deacon Sanderson went to the courthouse to inquire about purchasing land to build the church, while there they were told a Catholic church owned by Lexington Baptist Church that would soon be vacant and available at 109 Henry Street. They approached Pastor Lennon and the trustees and presented a proposal to purchase the building. The proposal was accepted and on April 9, 1968 represented by Attorney Charles W. Gunn Jr. documents were signed and Gospel Way Church of God In Christ had a new edifice.
In the fall of 1968, following months of renovations and the installation of new pews, pulpit furniture, offering table, communion table and new carpet Bishop Love arrived from Norfolk, Va. to formally officiate the dedication of Gospel Way COGIC. Elder Howard continued to seek Gods’ directions for the growth of the church, the vison of a Radio Outreach Ministry was given. The church was given permission to have an AM slot where Mother Howard was the radio announcer, the choirs rendered the music and the members gave their testimonies of being saved and healed. Church grew to more than 60 active members through this great work, yet there was more to do.
On June 4, 1977 the Lord called Elder Howard home from labor to reward and the church found itself without a leader. Mother Howard said “we are like sheep without a shepherd”, for months she and the members fasted and prayed seeking the Lord for a Pastor after God’s own heart. Many Ministers came to preach and serve the congregation. God revealed to Mother Howard that Elder Leon McCauley who often came to assist and serve communion would be the new pastor. Although he was the assistant pastor to Elder Joseph Pride Sr, Mother Howard followed the voice of the Lord and approached Elder and Sis. McCauley. They all prayed for God’s will to be done.
In March 1978, Elder Leon McCauley was ordained and installed as the Pastor of Gospel Way COGIC.
In 1979, Elder Filmore Bell, wife CeCei and their children joined the church and he was appointed as Assistant Pastor where he served faithfully. On March 21, 1980, Attorney Frank Williams Adams of Roanoke, Va. bequeathed $3,169.32 to the church. That money was used to pay off the church note. A mortgage burning service was held December 20, 1980, with Rev. James Scott speaking and the Ebenezer Baptist Church family of Staunton, Va. Fellowshipping with us.
Under Elder McCauley’s leadership the church continued to grow. Inside the sanctuary was renovated with cushions on pews, new floors, new carpet, new piano, 2 new organs, a new sound system, furniture for the lounge, wheelchair ramp and updated wiring. Outside the church received a new roof, gutters, and new exterior lighting. Downstairs the kitchen was enlarged, and new appliances were purchased. A new bus was purchased and as a Memorial and tribute to the founding Pastor, Elder McCauley renamed the Young Adult Choir to the B.T, Howard Memorial Choir and assisted with purchasing new purple robes.
The church then voted to build a new addition onto the church, members were encouraged to pay their tithes and give gifts so the church would not have to borrow money to complete this task. The church was able to pay in cash, well over $55,000 for the completion of this addition which houses the Pastor’s study, two bathrooms and a downstairs social hall/learning center.
On January 20, 1996, Pastor McCauley’s wife Mother Shirley McCauley passed away.
On March 22, 1998 a dedication service was held commemorating the completion of the new addition with Rev. Ronald O. Baker as our guest speaker accompanied by his congregation and choir of the Springfield Baptist Church in Troy, Va. Elder McCauley continued to seek God for guidance to lead the church, with many souls being saved the church grew.
In November of 1999, the passing of Elder Filmore Bell left the church with yet another void, Elder McCauley was now without his trusted friend and assistant. The work of the ministry continued with guest ministers and Mother Howard serving as needed.
On January 4, 2008 following a lengthy illness Mother Clara Howard received her reward and enter through the gates of Heaven. Then only 8 days later, on January 12, 2008 Elder Leon McCauley passed suddenly.
The church was now with our founding church Mother and our Pastor. Supt. Joseph Pride Sr. was sent to oversee the church during this transition until a new Pastor could be appointed.
Bishop Samuel L. Green Jr. and the State Board held a meeting at the church and Elder William N. Ward Jr. of Charlottesville, Va. was appointed as Interim Pastor to organize and establish officers in the church until a new Pastor was appointed.
Under Elder Ward’s leadership, a new van was purchased, a new computer program and printer were purchased to appropriately record the finances and church records. Sis. Marsha Brown was appointed as the recording secretary and Mother Margaret Harris (Wright) would remain the church’s Treasurer.
In January 2010 Elder Ward introduced Elder Phillip X. Green Sr. to the congregation as our new Pastor. On January 12, 2010 Elder Phillip X. Green Sr. was installed during an Ordination ceremony with Bishop Samuel L. Green Jr. of the Virginia Second Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Churches of God In Christ officiating at Faith Assembly of God Church in Lexington, Va. The congregation with great anticipation of a mighty work of God through this servant welcomed the new first family, Elder Phillip, Sister Richelle, Lauren, PJ and Brandon to gospel Way COGIC.
We celebrated the first anniversary service on April 8-10, 2011, a three-day celebration with Elder Donald Conner, pastor of New Hope COGIC of Lexington, Va. On Friday night, Supt. Ronald A. Watson, Sr. pastor of Radford COGIC of Radford, Va. Spoke on Saturday culminating with Bishop Malverse Simpson, pastor of Spirit of Liberty Worship Center of Roanoke, Va. On Sunday evening.
Elder Phillip X. Green Sr shared his vision for the growth of the church with the congregation and everyone stood in agreement to work with him to follow the vision that God had given him. Under his leadership, the vestibule of the church was remodeled with new shelving, lighting and chandelier showcasing the many awards of the church auxiliaries. The church was freshly painted, a new sound system and video equipment was installed, computers where purchased for the planned computer lab designed to assist the students.
In 2014 a vision to expand the Outreach ministries of the church was shared with the church, that year during the Thanksgiving Holiday the church provided thanksgiving baskets to families in the community with everything needed to prepare a complete dinner. Every subsequent year the church has given turkeys to needy families.
In 2015, the church partnered with the Lexington City Summer youth Program to prepare a hot lunch meal daily to the local youth participants. In 2016, the church entered a partnership with the Feeding America program and the Gospel Way Food Pantry was established. To assist in the safe delivery of food to the families being served, a local cement contractor donated material and labor to install new sidewalk section on the west side of the building. Safety railings have been installed on the stairs leading to the church from the street level.
Beginning in September 2020 the church will have the electrical service upgraded from the existing 110 amp service to 200 amp, the roof and bell tower will be repaired and painted, new gutters installed, repair and replacement of damaged facial trim will be completed, Sanctuary window trim will be repaired and painted and windows re-glazed.
The video ministry has been upgraded from a 1-camera to a 3-camera operation under the direction of Bro, CL Holly and has expanded with the development of an internet web page capable of live streaming. New choir microphones have been purchased and await installation.
Under the leadership of Elder Phillip X. Green Sr. and First Lady Richelle Green the church continues to grow.